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NEWS | Nov. 13, 2019

Running for remembrance

By Airman 1st Class Marcus M. Bullock 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The Airman continues his run, the sound of his breathing eclipsed by the insects surrounding the track. It’s two in the morning and the only light is from the lamp posts lining the track. He disappears after he passes each light until he reaches the next post. He and the four other Airmen have already been running for 17 hours, only nine more to go.

These Airmen gladly do it, to remember the men and women, past and present, who are or have been prisoners of war or missing in action.

“It’s about something that’s bigger than me,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Juan Medina, 1st Maintenance Squadron maintainer. “It’s my duty to make sure the flag keeps moving and give back my time and energy for something other than myself.”

Medina, along with Tech. Sgt. James Long, 1st Operations Support Squadron survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) specialist, and two other Airmen dedicated 24 hours to running during the POW/MIA ceremony on Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

They dedicated their time to ensure the POW/MIA flag never stopped moving during those 24 hours.

As a SERE specialist, Long has been able to speak to POWs in the past and see firsthand how training and mental fortitude can bring our men and women home.

 “We’re never going to stop trying to get them back,” Long said. “If I can come here and show that support in a small way by dedicating 24 hours of my time to make sure the flag keeps moving then it’s all worth it to me.”

A POW/MIA memorial stands tall on JBLE and serves a reminder to all service members of the sacrifice many have made in honor of their country, their family and their brothers and sisters in arms.